Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ethos in Ethics, Ethics in Ethos

Ben Faith

Whether you are interested in world news, social issues, or Nicki Minaj's latest bashing of Miley Cyrus, you should want accurate reporting, original content and truthful details. I do not think that there is a consistent code that journalists follow in today's media mashup of 24-hour news, social media and traditional print media, but there still is certain principles people expect journalists (or "journalists") to have. These principles can be summarized into three main ideas, tell the truth, don't steal content, and serve the public.

While there are countless examples of media professionals lying, the one that stands out recently was Brian Williams. Lead anchor of the NBC Nightly News, who has even been fired on when he reported in Iraq, Brian Williams is one of the most respected men in media.

Correction: Brian Williams apparently embellished his stories of him in Iraq, and he has resigned from the lead anchor position on the NBC Nightly News, and now he is no longer one of the most respected men in media…

In case you haven't heard much about the Brian Williams scandal, he lied, multiple times, about his time covering the war in Iraq in 2003, and he resigned as the Lead Anchor of the NBC Nightly News after the truth came out. Not only did he lose probably one of the best jobs in broadcast media, but he also lost the trust of the public.The New York Times article from the link above states:

Everyone knows not to steal, but what about plagiarism? Is it ever okay to borrow words, pictures or video without giving the original source? To put it simply, in journalism, no. Probably one of the most famous plagiarist, Jayson Blair, learned this the hard way. According to a 2003 New York Times article, after four years of writing for the Times 36 of 73 of Blair's articles were either plagiarized, stolen, or otherwise deemed unethical. After it was discovered Blair had been acting unethically, he was abruptly fired from the Times, and was never to work in journalism ever again.

Lastly, journalists are expected to report with the interest of the public in mind. No, I don't mean they are only supposed to cover entertainment, sports and fashion, what I mean is journalists have an obligation to the public to keep them informed. Look at Edward Snowden, a government employee, turned rogue on the run after releasing information about the NSA, a government surveillance organization. Snowden put the interest of the public before his own life, and now he can probably never return to the US, and he serves as an advocate for privacy.

Source: 2014 article: link

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